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Mark Trumbo’s value can’t get any higher from its current level. He’s delivered a near 1.000 OPS in 2012 and it’s likely all downhill from here. His .381 BABIP is a red flag since it is well above his career average of .287. Despite his solid power, his HR/FB of 24% will also decrease, potentially below 20%. A walk rate of 8.8% is a nice improvement, but I am pessimistic about him maintaining this rate since he has struggled to walk his entire career. I see a similar line to 2011 for the rest of this season, with .290/.480/.770 as a reasonable expectation. That’s a horrific line for a first baseman, but if he qualifies as a third baseman in your league, then that moves him into Pedro Alvarez and Chris Davis territory. Is that useful? It provides you some cheap power, but could really hurt your OPS at times. There’s also more downside since his defense is atrocious and the Angels don’t have room to play everybody, so he could get benched with some frequency.

Mike Moustakas is showing why he was the Greek God of Potential. After struggling last year, Zeustakas is lighting up pitchers this season. The great thing about him is that I do not see any obvious red flags. His BABIP will come down a little, but he is not benefiting from any heavenly luck. It would be nice to see him walk more and decrease his swinging strike rate, and I expect this to occur as he better adjusts to major league pitching. His HR/FB of 10.4% is likely the baseline for what to expect this season because he displayed decent power throughout the minor leagues. For the rest of 2012, a .340/.460/.800 line should be attainable, with upside from there. In keeper leagues, he’s a fantastic third baseman to have and I’d compare him to Ryan Zimmerman, who Moustakas may have a higher OPS than as soon as this year.

Mark Teixeira’s 2012 season was predicted in the Mayan calendar. An OPS below .700 is not going to continue, but he’s far from his elite levels of several years ago. His current .229 BABIP would typically suggest that he’s been unlucky, yet his BABIP has been decreasing for a long time: .342 in 2007, .316 in 2008, .302 in 2009, .268 in 2010, and .239 in 2011. Yes, he still has power, as evidenced by his five home runs (aka LaHair’s total this month), but I believe low 30s homers is his ceiling rather than his floor. In OPS leagues, his value has been diminishing due to a declining OBP as well as a slugging percentage below his prior levels above .500. In fact, over the past couple seasons he’s hovered around an .840 OPS, which is eerily similar to Carlos Pena’s career OPS. If that wasn’t bad enough, Tex has been swinging at and making more contact with pitches outside the strike zone, which usually results in weaker contact. A line of .350/.490/.840 for the rest of the season could sadly be on the high end, unless he becomes more patient and drives the ball like he used to.

Ike Davis will turn around his triple slash line trouble. Ike D’s .188 BABIP has sabotaged his season, and it ranks last in the majors, after Bautista and Hosmer. This is likely the main reason why he’s been struggling. Yes, his walk rate has decreased and his strikeout rate has increased, but I think these factors are the result of him pressing as a reaction to his bad luck. Though he doesn’t yet have a long major league track record, his dominance of the minor leagues leads me to believe that he’s a sure shot to rebound. Now I’m not going to say he’ll meet Bill James’ 2012 projection of an .886 OPS, but he should at least reach an .800 OPS for the rest of the season. His 2010 line of .350/.440/.790 could be his floor, with upside for much more slugging if he’s able to successfully fight for his right to get lucky.

Kelly Johnson is going to continue his current pace for the rest of 2012. He’s had an interesting pattern of alternating good and bad years, by posting strong OPS years in 2008 and 2010 to contrast weak years in 2009 and 2011. Maybe it’s because this is an even year, but Johnson has decided to walk more than his career rate. Additionally, he’s swung at and made contact with less pitches outside the strike zone, further suggesting an increase in patience. Unfortunately, Kelly has retained his high strikeout rate from last year, which is a potential cause for concern. His HR/FB and BABIP will also decrease, but I don’t expect him to completely dismantle. 20 home runs appears to be a given and a .350/.410/.760 line is achievable for the rest of 2012.

Carlos Lee thinks it’s time to hit the old dusty trail. El Caballo is obviously over the hill but, despite being owned in many leagues, he is becoming unusable. The most significant sign of his decline is his HR/FB over the past few years: 16.4% in 2008, 10.5% in 2009, 9.5% in 2010, 7.7% 2011, and 4.5% in 2012. In addition, his speed is nonexistent at this point. Lee’s .750 OPS in 2012 is manageable for the rest of the season, but I’d expect something closer to .330/.390/.720. Not to beat a dead horse, but El Caballo is done. Somewhere, Khartoum weeps.

  1. PastaMan says:
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    Really dig these articles. Question: how do you go about selecting which players to highlight?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @PastaMan, Thanks, I appreciate the feedback. Usually I try to get a mix of veterans and younger guys across divisions that stand out to me when I begin to write the article. I’m definitely open to suggestions if you have any…

  2. PastaMan says:
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    Pujols and Adam Jones come to mind as far as big names. Allen Craig would be a nice one too.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @PastaMan, Thanks. I’ll cover at least one of those guys next week.

  3. Black Beard says:
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    Do you like Everth Cabrera (just called up) or A. Escobar the rest of the way? Standard 5 + OPS.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Black Beard, I prefer Escobar.

  4. Hats for Bats says:
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    “El Caballo is done” – I’m in a Ks against/OBP 10 team mixed and deep rosters. I find him to be a great stabilizer on my team

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Hats for Bats, Yeah in that type of league he isn’t as bad because he’s reduced his strikeouts. In an OPS league though, he still feels done because his extra base power is gone, which hurts his slugging.

  5. LuigiBall says:
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    I’m so sick & tired of waiting for Matt Latos to show up! I’m so close to booting this guy!I’m actually scared to see him rock for someone else,but I think he’s gone tonight! SIGH

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @LuigiBall, He is walking too many guys, but I wouldn’t outright drop him because I imagine somebody else would offer you something of value for him. Also, if it means anything, he had a much better second half last year.

      • Hats for Bats says:
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        @Tom Jacks, When he was really stinking it up early, my co-manager was like, this is it. if he craps on us, he’s done. Then he goes out and throws like 11 Ks. I’m feeling a Liriano type of headache coming on.

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @Hats for Bats, He’s been all over the place this year. I know it’s a small sample, but he’s been much better at home than away, which seems strange.

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